A Guide to Extra Gear
Buying your first guitar is one of the best things ever. Shopping for things like tuners and strings, though, can be a real headache when you're just starting out. One look behind the counter at a guitar shop can leave your head spinning. I go shopping with my students, and when I do there's one question I'm asked more than any other...
What Else Do I Need?
Not much, but there are a few things that'll make your new life as a guitarist a whole lot easier. A good case is essential, as are extra strings, a string-winder, and a reliable tuner. Pics are pretty important too, capos can make playing a lot more interesting, and stands help make practicing a lot more spontaneous and fun.
But which to choose? I can't tell you what you'll end up preferring, but I can help save you a few bucks and headaches by telling you what I prefer and why. I've personally tested every item below and use most of them regularly. If you prefer to shop locally, click here. Otherwise, just click on the pictures to buy online. I've worked hard to ensure that the prices linked here are the lowest available anywhere.
iPhone App Store
Why spend money on a guitar tuning app when
It's one of the most useful, flexible, and accurate tuners I own. The metronome is excellent too, and if they'd stopped there then I'd still be recommending this app - but they didn't. They included an interactive library of chords, scales, and arpeggios too, and each is the best I've ever used.
Forget those heavy, ugly chord books, clunky tuners,
Pros: Too numerous to count. Buy it now.
* For Andriod users I recommend this app.
Model SN-5 $12.00 or less
These are great little tuners for the price, suitable for
This particular model uses a digital vibration sensor
Model GS7462B $20.00 or less
It's too easy to forget about practicing with
That's why I prefer these stands. Their wide stance
Pros: Inexpensive, solid, secure, and reliable.
Model OFFWM1 $20.00 or less
Hanging your guitar on a wall frees up floor space,
You'll find lots of wall-mount guitar hangers out there
Pros: Inexpensive, discreet, looks pretty awesome.
Model KG6B $15 or less
Some folks say that using a capo is cheating.
These are good capos. They're cheap, sturdy, reliable, attractive, and easy to set and remove with one hand.
Pros: Cheap, sturdy, and easy to use.
Model C1 $18 or less
This one's a bit less intuitive to use at first as compared to the Kyser but pretty simple once you get the hang of it. That little screw-like thing allows you to dial in just the right pressure for your neck, even after you've set it.
My Telecaster (an electric guitar) likes this one a lot. My Martin (an acoustic guitar) prefers the one below.
Pros: Nice-looking, variable pressure.
Perfomance Model $36 or less*
This is the Cadillac of capos. Almost as easy to set and remove as the Kyser, but much simpler, sleeker, and more discreet. The best thing about it, though, is the mechanical design, which allows for variable pressure that clamps down just as your fingers would. In simple terms, what this means is that this capo will never knock your guitar out of tune when you set it on the neck.
Super nice! Pricy, though.
Pros: Excellent design, variable pressure.
*G7th makes three different models of capo: Performance, Newport, and Nashville. I haven't listed the other two here because I've never tried them myself - but I'm really curious about them, so don't be surprised if you see them up here soon.
Count of 12 $3 to $8*
These picks sound nice and feel good in my hands.
I'm partial to the yellow and orange ones, myself.
Pros: Cheap, easy to find at most Bay Area shops.
*The prices above reflect the range currently available
I find these to be great strings for beginning players. They represent a fair compromise between heavier strings, which almost always sound better to my ears, and lighter strings, which are always easier on the fingers of new players.
These are the ones that I use on my student guitar:
Pros: Nice-sounding, easier to play for new fingers.
These are the strings that I use on my Martin.
Don't be afraid to try a set of mediums, though;
Pros: A fuller and more balanced sound.
Model GL-DREAD-12 $80 or less
A good case protects your guitar from scratches
Hard bags combine the best of both worlds: they're as light and easy to carry as a gig bag and offer protection almost equal to that of a hard case, but at a fraction of the price.
The shoulder straps on this one were cleverly designed.
Pros: Light, sturdy, and easy to carry.
Note: Guitars come in many shapes and sizes.